Dental exams are an important part of your dog's preventative care.
Many people are surprised to learn that a professional dental exam is not only crucial for your dog's dental health - it can also prevent problems that could impact the overall health and wellbeing of your precious pet. This is because regular dog dental exams can help prevent the development of a serious oral problem known as dental disease.
Dental disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the most prevalent dental condition affecting dogs in Kerrville, TX. It is caused by the migration of plaque from the teeth onto the soft tissue of the gums which causes irritation and eventually infection. As the condition progresses, the bacteria causing the infection can enter the bloodstream which provides access to all the major body systems and organs. This could lead to health problems and irreversible damage to your dog's body.
What Happens in a Dog Dental Exam?
A dental exam performed on a dog is not dissimilar to a human dental check-up. The first thing that your pet dentist in Kerrville, TX will do is perform a physical examination of your pet's teeth and mouth to check for any problems. A dental exam is an ideal opportunity for your pet dentist to screen your dog for a variety of oral issues, including:
- Dental disease
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Abscesses or infections
- Bite misalignment
- Dental pain
If any of the above issues are present, your pet dentist will speak to you about the best course of action to resolve the problem. This could involve a course of treatment, or further investigation may be needed. Your pet dentist may also request a series of dental x-rays to be done, and these will be kept on your dog's dental health records and may be used for future comparisons.
If your dog's dental exam is being combined with a dental cleaning, then he may have the initial exam performed while under the effects of a general anesthetic (GA). This is because a GA is normally administered ahead of a professional cleaning so that your pet dentist can be sure that your furbaby is completely still during the procedure. This makes the process far safer for your pet and gives your pet dentist enough time to conduct a truly comprehensive clean of your dog's teeth. A dental clean involves:
- Removing calculus above the gum line (the yellow/brown deposits that form on your dog's teeth)
- Removing calculus below the gum line using special tools and techniques
- Polishing the teeth so that it is harder for plaque and calculus to attach to them
- Application of sealant which acts as a barrier and helps to slow down the accumulation of plaque on the teeth
Is It Safe to Use Anesthesia in Pet Dental Cleaning?
A general anesthetic is used to put an animal (or human!) into a temporary period of sleep so that a medical procedure can be performed. Not only will your dog not be awake or aware of what is going on around him, but he will also not be in any discomfort for the duration of the procedure. Although primarily used in surgeries, veterinarians and pet dentists have found that the use of general anesthetic can be very beneficial in pet dentistry for the aforementioned reasons. Unsurprisingly, many owners do have some concerns about GA since there are risks associated with its use. Nevertheless, veterinarians and pet dental specialists agree that the benefits of a thorough, professional dental clean outweigh the minor risks of using GA.
If you have further questions about what is involved in a dog dental exam, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for your furry pal, please get in touch with our experienced pet dentistry team at our animal clinic in Kerrville, TX. Call our veterinarians in Kerrville, TX at (830) 896-6507 today!